We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together.... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude. ~Helen Hayes
What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it - like a secret vice. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. ~Jack Kerouac
It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky... a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe. ~Victor Hugo
Honestly, I'm terrified of being alone--and I am blessed with many great others in my life, some of whom I meet one on one, and some of whom I meet in group, in fellowship. However, lately, periods of fellowship have been either accompanied by or followed by such a striking depression and loneliness, that I am finding myself more afraid of being around others, and craving more solitude than I have for some time.
It's not much, but I've started spending at least an hour alone each night before I go to sleep, usually writing and/or reading. It's not much, but I spend at least the same amount of time in the morning in prayer, meditation, daily readying for the day tasks, exercising (usually jogging along a creek in the small town where I live). It feels clearly like a further step needs to take place, one in which I wade through the deep waters of loneliness into solitude.
In March, a two and a half year relationship with a man ended, a relationship that included daily and fairly continual contact. A mere weeks after that relationship ended, I started a new relationship--one that lasted briefly, but that also included daily continual contact. I ceased having what might be termed down time, but which I now term necessary solitude. It's lovely to pray with a loved one, and it's amazing to pray and worship in fellowship with others, but it's also essential for me to spend time in quiet contemplation.
When I was a child, I read for hours, and spent most of my time alone in my own imagination. I had a few friends, but my friends were my books and animals and the stories I made up in my head. My friends were the spirits I spoke to in the trees and on the wind. I'm needing a return to that time--and this is not to say I'm trying to push all you good people out of my life, but simply to find a way to nurture my solitude--to find a solidity within it, so that when people I rely upon are not available or, as they do--because it is human nature--fail me or betray me (as happened recently)--I have a solid foundation on which to stand. I can't live in the quicksand of loneliness. It'll take me under.
So here I go, after writing this, to my book and to my self, to God, and to the stars, to the sounds of sprinklers and the particular feel of the night air cooling outside and coming slowly into my room.
Here I go, friends, to a warm hearth in the recent dark of my heart. Here I go, here I go.